Jared Yates Sexton’s An End to All Things immediately appealed to me when it arrived last month. This collection is stocked with short, precise, unpretentious stories. Great sentences—shades of Hannah, Carver, Pancake. I’ve read about half a dozen so far, parceling them out over spare afternoon minutes and it’s good stuff—feels real without the strains of literary realism. You can read a story at publisher Atticus Books’ site, “You Never Ask Me About My Dreams” (great title). The first few paragraphs:
At that point things had been rough for a couple of months and I would’ve done anything to ease the tension. I set an alarm for half an hour earlier than usual. I thought if I had some breakfast going when Cathy got up she’d have to see that I cared.
After all, cooking wasn’t the easiest thing to do in our house. Both of us hated dishes so the kitchen was always a mess. There were pots and pans stacked on the counters and plates in the sink. Some still had clumps of food stuck to them. I even had to rinse out a bowl to use. Somehow there were a couple of clean forks and knives in the drawer. I got some eggs from the fridge and went to work scrambling the yolks.